Chef Justin Devillier is the Chef/Owner of La Petite Grocery and Balise in New Orleans, and the 2016 James Beard Award winner for Best Chef: South.
Devillier was raised in Dana Point, California, a small beach town in South Orange County. He spent summers fishing for Yellowtail and Albacore tuna, and in the fall and winter he would dive for lobsters just steps from his front door. This bounty of local seafood inspired him to enter the culinary industry, and after working in local restaurants right out of high school he decided to focus all of his time on becoming a chef. In 2003, Devillier moved to New Orleans in search of a vibrant restaurant community. He cooked in the kitchens of Bacco, Stella and Peristyle, where he learned the intricacies of French cuisine from his mentor, Chef Anne Kearny-Sands.
In 2004, Devillier joined the team at La Petite Grocery as a line cook and was promoted to sous chef after one year. Following Hurricane Katrina, he helped re-build the restaurant’s infrastructure, and in 2007 was promoted to executive chef. A short three years later, Devillier and his wife Mia took over ownership of the restaurant, housed in a century-old building with a storied history. At La Petite Grocery, Devillier puts his creative spin on traditional New Orleans cuisine with dishes like Turtle Bolognese, Panéed Rabbit, and Blue Crab Beignets. In 2014, he was awarded “Chef of the Year” by New Orleans Magazine.
In early 2015 the Devilliers opened their second restaurant, Balise, named after the first French settlement at the mouth of the Mississippi River. Set in a 19th century Creole townhouse in the Central Business District, Balise is a modern New Orleans tavern that celebrates the port city’s unique access to a wide variety of ingredients.
In his free time, Devillier is an avid fisherman and hunter, and loves spending time at the beach with his wife and three young daughters.